Michigan Central Hires Two to Lead Strategy, Curation

Michigan Central in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit hired two co-directors of a new, large-scale public art program in the city.
14

Michigan Central in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit hired two co-directors of a new, large-scale public art program in the city.

Lauren Ruffin
Lauren Ruffin

Lauren Ruffin, an associate professor of worldbuilding and visualizing futures at Arizona State University (ASU), and Kelly Kivland, former chief curator and director of exhibitions of Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, were hired to curate an arts program that aims to foster creativity and innovation at the intersection of art and technology.

Their goals are a component of the larger Michigan Central project — helping make downtown Detroit a vibrant, technology-forward arts community, supporting local, national, and international creators working in a range of public, performance, and digital media.

They are working on an art program designed to create a sense of identity and community in downtown Detroit. The program is still in the early stages, but will include spaces, resources, collaborative opportunities, and other programs for artists to hone their craft.

Ruffin comes from a deep policy background — her work spans digital experience, world-building, and brand partnerships, specifically exploring work from Black artists. She will focus mainly on the broader strategy and logistics of the program, in collaboration with Kivland, whose work will prioritize the creative direction of the program.

Kelly Kivland,
Kelly Kivland

Kivland has professional experience in art and technology and has an interest in Detroit’s history and culture. She is director and lead curator of the art program at Michigan Central. As an interdisciplinary curator and cultural producer active in the field for more than 20 years, her collaborative practice is in digital art, new media, performance, sound, and spatial practice.

In her prior roles, she was head of exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts (2021-2024) in Columbus, Ohio, and curator at Dia Art Foundation (2011-2021) in Beacon, N.Y.